Top 50 Companies for Executive Women 2011

Women are slowly but surely breaking through the glass ceiling, and there are certain companies that definitely stand out from the rest when it comes to helping female execs climb the corporate ladder.

The National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), annually recognizes organizations whose policies and practices encourage the advancement of women's careers with their Top 50 Companies for Executive Women list. This year, they report a milestone: "At our winning companies, women are running 23 percent of the operations that bring in more than $1 billion in revenue."

At the companies that made the top 50 list, women hold 23 percent of board seats (versus 16 percent at Fortune 500 companies) and represent 14 percent of CEOs (versus 2 percent of all companies nationwide). According to NAFE, "the winning companies are advancing women whose personal brands combine acute business acumen with collaboration, listening and people development."

Some of those assets, characteristic of female leaders, are considered 'soft-skills,' but that doesn't make them any less valuable. "The 'soft' skills were once considered women's tools-those warm-and-fuzzy people skills that were nice to have but unnecessary in the hard-charging, results-driven business world," says Peggy Klaus, author of The Hard Truth About Soft Skills. "Not so anymore. Soft skills are as important, if not more so, as the hard ones, and they will make or break you as a leader."

Those who made the list obviously understand this. Here is a glance at some of the companies honored and what they did to make the list. The full list of 50 companies follows.


Abbott's Women Leaders in Action (WLA) is a dedicated program that focuses on the development of women leaders.

-- Find Abbott Jobs


Accenture created the course "Developing Client-centric Women" to help female senior managers qualify for senior executive positions.

-- Find Accenture Jobs

American Express

American Express offers a program called Pathways to Sponsorship, which helps pair women with sponsors who serve as advocates for their work.

-- Find American Express Jobs


DuPont has a P&L initiative committed to sponsoring and advancing 36 women within two years.

-- Find DuPont Jobs


At public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard, women run half the half the U.S. office and serve as four of the seven regional presidents.


IBM launched the "Building Relationships and Influencing" initiative (BRI) to target key "nuggets" that hold women back to help them progress in their careers.

-- Find IBM Jobs


KPMG created a Diversity and Inclusion Scorecard, which helps identify women stalled in the progression of their career.

Kraft Foods

Kraft Foods offers the course "Efficacy for Women," which helps women improve skills they often lack, such as influencing, risk-taking and building networks.

-- Find Kraft Foods Jobs

Marriott International

Last year, Marriott International selected women to fill five of their 12 newly created VP positions.

-- Insider's Guide to Marriott

-- Find Marriott Jobs

Procter & Gamble

P&G pairs female senior executives with woman at the CEO-level for mentoring.


At Walmart, the President's Global Council of Women Leaders focuses on developing female leaders and championing their opportunities internationally.

-- Insider's Guide to Walmart

-- Find Walmart Jobs


WellPoint has improved gender fairness by offering a job-positing tool that makes succession planning transparent.

-- Find WellPoint Jobs

Top 50 Companies for Executive Women 2011
  1. Abbott
  2. Accenture
  3. Aetna
  4. Allstate Insurance Company
  5. American Electric Power
  6. American Express Company
  7. AOL Inc
  8. AstraZeneca
  9. AT&T
  10. Bank of America
  11. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceutical USA
  12. Bristol-Myers Squibb
  13. Cisco
  14. Citi
  15. Colgate-Palmolive Company
  16. DuPont
  17. Eli Lilly and Company
  18. Fleishman-Hillard Inc.
  19. General Mills
  20. HCA Virginia Health System - Richmond Market
  21. HSBC North America
  22. IBM Corporation
  23. Intel Corporation
  24. Johnson & Johnson
  25. KPMG LLP
  26. Kraft Foods, Inc.
  27. Macy's Inc.
  28. Marriott International, Inc.
  29. McDonald's Corporation
  30. McKinsey & Company
  31. Merck
  32. MetLife, Inc.
  33. New York Life Insurance Company
  34. Northern Trust
  35. Office Depot
  36. Pfizer Inc
  37. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  38. Prudential Financial, Inc.
  39. Sodexo
  40. State Farm Insurance
  41. Texas Instruments Incorporated
  42. The New York Times Company
  43. The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
  44. The Principal Financial Group
  45. The Procter & Gamble Company
  46. Verizon Communications Inc
  47. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
  48. WellPoint, Inc
  49. Wyndham Worldwide
  50. Xerox Corporation

2011 NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women Non-Profits

  1. Bon Secours Richmond Health System
  2. March of Dimes Foundation
  3. Mercy Health System
  4. MidMichigan Health
  5. Moffitt Cancer Center
  6. Northwestern Memorial HealthCare
  7. TriHealth
  8. VCU Health System
  9. WellStar Health System
  10. Yale-New Haven Hospital

Next:Top 10 Companies Hiring This Week

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